It's no secret that video game publishers hate retailers such as GAME flogging pre-owned software online and in the many high street stores around the world. In fact, most publishers would rather it be considered an illegal practice.

Luckily for us gamers, though, the European Court of Justice doesn't feel the same way, and has ruled that the sale of pre-owned software is completely legitimate.

Although the ruling is far from binding, it's supposed to be used as a reference should a case that centres on the sale of pre-owned software make it into a court in the EU.

The European Court of Justice decided that "the exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by a licence [that prohibits the resale of software] is exhausted on its first sale".

"A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy," the court added.

Basically, once you've bought a game or some other form of software, you can sell it to whomever the hell you ruddy like.

DRM-free

The use of DRM in the sale of digital products also came under fire from the European Court of Justice.

"The principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website," the court continued.

"Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy - tangible or intangible - and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right."

Again, this basically means that once you've purchased a piece of software, DRM shouldn't stop you from using it how, when, and where you like.

MCV